Friday, 8 May 2020

Victory in Europe (VE) Day in Churchill's Toyshop

My grandfather, Norman Angier,

Norman Angier

worked at Churchill’s Toyshop (M.D.1) as the head civilian engineer during WWII.

Norman Angier

On VE day “Norman Angier felt it was an occasion for fireworks. He therefore acquired a large batch of quite big rockets and proceeded to poop them off, selecting as his firing site a point at the summit of a concrete road which led down to the ranges and the CMP’s camp. Unlike the Guy Fawkes day rockets, these were not provided with sticks for poking into the ground to keep the bodies upright ; but Norman had fixed up some sort of stand for doing this. All went well for a while and the show was most spectacular. Then Norman got careless. A rocket he had just initiated was not properly secured. It fell over, and instead of going up vertically proceeded at speed in the near horizontal plane. A weary CMP was walking along this road on his way back to the camp. The rocket struck him right on target. Luckily, he was not seriously hurt and we soon whipped him off to hospital . The trouble was to make him believe that the attack was not intentional. He had been the victim of a 1000 to 1 chance.” The Firs

1 comment:

  1. Enemy at Home 91 When Jefferis' team arrived at Checkers, they were shocked to see that Churchill had invited General De Gaulle and General Smuts. The weapon didn't seem to impress anyone, it was a thick tube with wide metal legs. Even Macrae didn't think it looked like a weapon at all, rather an invention of Heath Robinson (the English artist of miraculous installations). But hidden inside that peculiar tube was a cone-shaped rocket with a huge explosive charge. Jefferis assigned the two best members of his team to fire the weapon. Ralph Farrant was a gunner with a rare gift for hitting distant targets, Norman Angier had been instrumental in building the mortar. There was a lot at stake. Although the sticky bomb had already been provided to the Auxiliary Units,the country urgently needed powerful anti-tank weapons. Farrant targeted one of the trees in Checkers' yard, a tree that Macrae thought was terribly far away. Norman Angier was positioning the weapon when disaster struck. The mortar went off accidentally. The explosive charge flew through the air with a screeching noise and it was close to eclipsing the watching dignitaries. The missile narrowly missed General De Gaulle, said a startled Macrae. He knew that Churchill had little sympathy for the leader of the Free French, so he added that unkind people afterwards suggested that the Prime Minister had somehow bribed Norman. Miraculously, after skimming past De Gaulle, the rocket hit,full of the tree Farrant had pointed out. The branches flew about and the trunk was swept away. A resounding success, 8 concluded all present. Churchill was deeply impressed that Jefferis had once again delivered a top performance. He turned to him and said somewhat formally: As Prime Minister, I charge you to further develop this excellent weapon as quickly as possible. He immediately promised Jefferis a contribution of five thousand pounds and promised that it would be much more once the proper financial arrangement was made.